Posted in Uncategorized

MyMaps: Student Created Maps!

Earlier in the school year I introduced the idea of using Google MyMaps in the classroom.  Over the last week couple of weeks, I began using it in a couple of my classes.  The result of the students using MyMaps was stunning.  While these maps are imperfect (missing details periodically due to student error), they demonstrate so many possibilities for student creation.

European History – European Explorers (Freshmen through Seniors)

European History – Absolutism Research (Seniors)

World Geography – Distribution of Natural Resources (Sophomores)


World Geography – North American Research (Sophomores)

Lesson Plan Design

First, determine what your goal/objective is for the lesson.

For both World Geography and European History, it was an easy and natural fit to use MyMaps.  In European History, I have always had students do some type of presentation (Powerpoint, Keynote, Slides) to detail the trips and explorations of various explorers.  But as I prepared for that annual lesson, I decided to give MyMaps a go around in order to have a completely student created product.
For World Geography, I have always wanted them to get a greater understand of the world’s natural resources and the disparity of their use/production throughout the world.

Tip: Create a generic map for students to look at, in order to understand how they can manipulate their own maps.

Second, provide the guiding questions and objectives for students to quickly access and research. 

New this year, I have been using Google Classroom for my classes.  To get students the questions and topics, I posted an “assignment” on Google Classroom with the following:

Topics/Questions
Types of resources to use
How to cite sources
Link to MyMap (Created by me, but will explain how later)
Initial Due Date (To help critique student work)

Tip:  When creating the MyMap link as a teacher, go to mymaps.google.com.  Then click share and change access to “Anyone at *School Domain* with the link” and “Can Edit.”  Next, copy the URL and post it on the Classroom Assignment.

Front Page of
mymaps.google.com 


Third, students begin researching and posting their information to the linked MyMap.

I had each student (or in my case pairs) create a “layer” on their MyMap for a couple different reasons.  First, I wanted to be able to easily assess the students without having to search throughout the map for each students work.  Second, it prevented students from accidentally deleting or changing other students work.

Tip:  There is a limit to the number of layers (10 Total) you can create, so be cognizant of the amount.

Fourth, review students work and provide immediate feedback on their design and information.

 
Example of Student work

As students begin posting their information to the map, give them insight on how best to improve their layer.  For example, having students use different colors/symbols in order to differentiate their work from other students (Ex. Christopher Columbus being the yellow line and markers).  Some other ways to improve their map would be to include the following:  Pictures/videos on markers, journal writings or data information for each marker, proper structure/organization on the side information bar.

Tip:  Unlike the other Google Apps tools, Google MyMaps does not automatically update as students work on it.  However, if you reload the map, all the other work will be updated to your map.

Fifth, share the student work with the rest of the world!

After students have completed the assignment, change the share settings to “On – Public Web” and “Can View.”  Then copy the URL and share it out to the rest of the world!

Tip: Post it to Google+ in order to demonstrate your students work, as well as inspire other teachers to have students create their own resources!

What other ideas do you have for student created maps?  Ways to make the process even better?

A video below to explain how I use this in the classroom!

 
Posted in GAFE

1st Day Activity

Welcome Back!

Every new year brings with it a lot of new and exciting opportunities for our students.  In the fall of 2015, one of those opportunities for our school included the influx of chromebooks in a few classrooms.  I was blessed with these new devices after working with iPads for the last 4 years.

Thought-Provoking Idea

 

New Ideas

As I began to prepare for this first day, I was challenged by a tweet from +Alice Keeler.  Her tweet challenged the following idea: ‘Who says we need to go over the syllabus the way we have for the last 50 years?  Who says that we need to “talk” over everything the first day?’

With this thought provoking idea, I developed a new idea.  Why not have students create something that was shared out to the world that describes the syllabus, the class, and them personally?  After talking to my principal, +Chris Thompson, and a fellow teacher (My wife), +Amanda Houp, I created an assignment on Google Drawing for the first day.  (Copy of assignment Link)

My Example

Procedure

As students came into my class, I had them grab a chromebook and log into their School Issued Google Apps Account.  Of course a few students had forgotten their passwords, but with me being the Google Apps Administrator it was easy to change their passwords.  Then I directed the students to the Google Classroom site in order to enroll in my “class” (classroom.google.com).  To do this, I displayed the enrollment code on the TV.  Some students logged on, others struggled.  To help alleviate this and get students on the same page, I had the logged in students (experts) help those struggling.  This helped everyone get on the same page much sooner.  Also, I created a basic example that I would turn in if I were a student which gave visual learners an idea of how to approach the assignment.  (Copy of Example)

Google Drawing Template (Copy)

 

Details of Assignment

Google+: Student Work Shared

At this point in the class period, students began to work on the Google Drawing by “making a copy.”  I would use this time period to periodically teach students different tips/tricks with the Chromebook/Google Apps Account.  Overall, students gained the following skills:  Location of my website (full of resources); Use Google Apps/Drive/Drawing; Find Images/Text; definition between public domain; A few details of my class syllabus; Class Direction/Content; etc.

Tips/Tricks:

Here are a few of the shortcuts I learned and passed on to my students:

Ctrl + L-C-V
Created using Google Drawing


Ctrl+L= Highlight URL

Ctrl+C= Copy

Ctrl+V= Paste

On a chromebook, use three fingers on the trackpad to switch quickly between various open tabs within Chrome.

Final Reflection

Are there other ways to do this?  Absolutely!  But overall I was very happy with the amount of preliminary skills students developed.  If you have other ideas or tips, please share for others to learn!

Google Classroom Assignment

 Resources:

My website for all my classes:  Coach Houp’s Website
Alice Keeler’s Website:  Teacher Tech